Desserts in Korea

Although Korea is known for their spicy food and assortment of kimchi, Koreans love to eat dessert. After a meal of spicy noodles or delicious Korean barbecue, you get this urge to eat something sweet to finish off your meal, and there are plenty of options to choose from!

1. Bingsu  (빙수)

My first recommendation is a traditional Korean dessert called Bingsu. Bingsu is finely shaved ice that has normally has a topping of red beans, rice cakes, and condensed milk. However, you can also get it with fruit like mangoes or strawberries, and some restaurants have even chocolate toppings. Like many Korean dishes, this dessert is normally shared with another person. I recommend going to Subling (설빙) in Wangsimini (왕십리). If you are standing in front of Olive Young in Wangsimni, take a right and Subling is slightly past an arcade and is on the second floor. This dessert is priced starting at 12,000 Won.

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2. Ice Cream

If Bingsu is not really your thing, then I recommend the classic cold dessert: ice cream. Ice cream is very popular in Korea, and on a hot day, you will see many Koreans enjoying a popsicle or an ice cream cone. If you’re in Wangsimni and want a classic ice cream cone, then I recommend going to the American ice cream store chain, Baskin Robbins. Starting at 2,800 Won for a regular cone with a single scoop of ice cream, Baskin Robbins has an array of flavors both familiar and not so familiar. They have classic flavors like cookies’n’cream or their signature Love Potion #31. If you want to try something more exotic, they also have yogurt, blueberry panna cotta, and green tea ice cream.

If you’re on the go and looking for a cheap ice cream, the convenience store has fun options to try. I have bought ice cream there in the price range from 500-2,500 Won. One day I was feeling adventurous, and I tried an ice cream in the shape of a fish. The fish actually tasted like what is referred to as a cake cone in the United States. Inside of the fish exterior, there was vanilla ice cream and a fine layer of sweet red bean. The convenience store also carries ice cream sandwiched between two macaroons. Both the chocolate and strawberry are delicious, and it baffles me that macaroons can be mass produced like this!

However, the original macaroon with ice cream can be found at a little shop called Penguin Macaroon. Try one of their delicious flavors of green tea, cream cheese, strawberry, banana, or chocolate ice cream. I personally had the cream cheese, and it was heavenly! Head to Anguk Station (안국역) and get out at exit 6 and walk to Insa-dong (인사동) for this sweet treat.

The last memorable ice cream I have had is the Instagram-worthy 32 cm ice cream cone in Myeongdong (명동). You read that right, 32 cm of delicious ice cream goodness, and this dazzling treat is only 2,000 won per cone. Tourists line up for this eye-catching ice cream, and the flavors offered are usually chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and green tea which can be swirled together.

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3. Street Desserts

If you’re already in Myeongdong, you will probably be in awe of all of the street food that you can try while you are shopping. One of the desserts that caught my eye is called ddalchi. This dessert is a strawberry that is covered in red bean paste and then covered with a special flour to create a mochi around the strawberry. Mochi has a chewy texture and is sweet. It was definitely a unique treat, and I have never had something like that before. However, a single strawberry costs 2,500 won so be prepared to shell out some cash!

This last dessert is probably my favorite that I have tried so far in Korea. I don’t even know the name of it, but every time I smell it, I want it and convince my friends to share some with me. If you go to Wangsimni station and exit from exit 6, there is usually a man there who has a booth with plastic covering around it. Your nose will tell you if he is there or not. In his booth, he is selling a snack that is made of a sweet batter which is poured over a walnut or peanut in a hot mold in the shape of the respective nut. As the batter cooks, it becomes golden brown and transforms into bite sized pieces of fluffy cake. You can get this snack in a small portion for 3,000 won or a large portion for 5,000 won where you can either mix together the walnut and peanut pieces or have just one type. This dessert is an excellent way to end your meal or have something sweet on your way out of Wangsimni!

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Article by Catherine from the U.S.A.

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